After enjoying Dinosaur National Monument, we headed East toward Rocky Mountain National Park. On our way there, we stopped in Steamboat Springs and Fort Collins.
Since visiting Crested Butte, we had been wanting to find some hot springs in Colorado. We came across Strawberry Hot Springs in Steamboat Springs. Because of the coronavirus, they were only allowing reservations for 2 hour increments and were totally booked for the day we wanted to go. Fortunately, there were some cancellations the morning of and we were able to snag a spot early in the afternoon. It ended up being a warm day and the pools were even hotter but we were determined to get our money’s worth and stayed in the 100+ degree water the entire time. This was a beautiful spot and we will definitely keep this place in mind during future winter visits to Colorado.
According to Alan, Fort Collins has a pretty awesome craft beer scene so off we went to scope it out. It was a cloudy day and rain was headed our way. Most of the breweries were only allowing patio seating and to avoid contact with staff, we were able to order from our phones. We enjoyed beer from O’dell, New Belgium, Funkwerks and Jessup Farm Barrel House. We wrapped up our beer tour with more carbs at an Italian restaurant called, Cacciatore. Very happy bellies!
Rocky Mountain National Park
On our first day at Rocky Mountain, we decided to hike to Chasm Lake. This is a 9.4 mile out and back hike with an elevation gain of 2,601 feet. Chasm Lake sits at 11,760 feet. This hike was lots of fun and got a little scary as we reached the lake at the top.
The first 2 miles or so took us through sub-alpine terrain featuring 100 ft tall Engelmann Spruce and Flat-Needled Fir trees. As we climbed higher, we found ourselves above the tree line in steep alpine terrain with sandier soils, little vegetation, and unobstructed views of the surrounding mountains. Then, we got to the scary part, a snowy 200 foot long traverse on a sleep hillside 100 feet above sharp, rocky rubble. Luckily, we had our trekking poles with us so we were able to cross with minimal slippage.
After this, we scrambled up some rocks to get to the beautiful Chasm Lake. This lake wins most beautiful mountain lake to date. We soaked in the views of the lake while snacking on peanut butter and crackers and then made our way back down.
Trail Ridge Road
Once we finished our hike, we hopped in the van and drove the scenic Trail Ridge Road to see the various points of interest throughout the park. Along the drive there are turnouts at each overlook that allowed us to park and take in the views. We even saw some wildlife along the drive including elk, moose, and marmot.
On our second and last day at Rocky Mountain, we hiked up to Sky Pond from the Glacier Gorge Trailhead. This trail is 9.5 mile out and back hike with an elevation of 1,837 feet. This trail was much busier than Chasm Lake so we sped through some of the early waterfall overlooks to get ahead and away from the larger crowds. We came across some beautiful calm lakes throughout the hike. As we neared the top, we came across some slippery slushy snow patches and a challenging scramble up a waterfall.
This park is every mountain lovers dream! The great views are endless, and the mountain lakes are breathtaking. There is so much to do in and around the park. We will definitely be back!
Thanks for reading!